Jonah Goldberg

If abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is found guilty of homicide, he will be unique among murderers-for-hire: He set his fees based on weight. "The bigger the baby, the more he charged," a grand jury explained. It recommended he be charged with eight counts of murder -- one patient, seven babies.

Despite what amounted to a blackout at many media outlets until last week, you've probably now heard at least some of the details. According to the grand jury report, Gosnell's Philadelphia "clinic" was a filthy abattoir. It stunk of urine. Flea-ridden cats defecated freely, including in procedure rooms. Fetuses -- or, rather, parts of fetuses -- were all over the place, in jars, on shelves. The remains of 45 babies were found by authorities. Gosnell collected baby feet in jars.

Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a refugee from Nepal, died at Gosnell's clinic, allegedly because he and his staff used too much of a cheap sedative and because the clinic was so crammed with junk that it took paramedics 20 minutes just to find their way out. Authorities later found her intact 19-week-old fetus in a freezer. It had been there for three months.

This barely scratches the surface of what the grand jury describes as a "charnel house."

So, obviously this is a story about the mainstream media.

My fellow Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers wrote a USA Today column last week shaming the media for not covering the Gosnell case enough or, in many cases, at all. She got results. Suddenly everyone was talking about it. Though a dismaying amount of the coverage is about why there was a lack of coverage.

It's an important issue, of course. But it's not a complicated one. It seems obvious that most mainstream outlets are run and staffed by pro-choice liberals. But whatever the motivation, the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger is surely correct when she says the mainstream media are generally locked into a single narrative about abortion: "reproductive rights under siege."

Ironically, the same factors that might have discouraged the mainstream media from covering the story in the first place now give them an incentive to turn it into a story about the media. CBS News, for instance, broke its broadcast boycott of the trial by running a piece on the political firestorm over the lack of coverage. Now, for understandable reasons, the bombing at the Boston Marathon is likely to push the Gosnell story out of the news once again.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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